Faculty Profile

Richa Saxena, PhD

Richa Saxena 2017
Associate Professor of Anaesthesia, Harvard Medical School
Assistant in Genetics, Center for Genomic Medicine Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital
Director of Genetics of Sleep and Circadian Research Program in Sleep Epidemiology, Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital

Other Affiliation(s)

Associate Member, Medical and Population Genetics, Broad Institute

See publications


Massachusetts General Hospital
185 Cambridge Street, CPZN 5.802
Boston, MA 02114

Inter-office Mail Address

MGH Simches Research Building
CPZN 5.802

Phone 617-643-8758

Society Memberships

Sleep Research Society, American Society for Human Genetics, American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association


Zoe Onion 2016-2017
Jessica Rhodes 2016-2017

Jacqueline Lane 2011-
Kathryn Gray 2012-
Brian Cade (co-mentor) 2013-
Hassan Dashti 2016-
Celine Vetter (co-mentor) 2016-
Ciaran McMullan (co-mentor) 2016-


David Altshuler, MD, PhD
David Page, MD

Research Funding


NIH/NIDDK R01 DK102696; Multi-PI: F.A.J.L. Scheer and R. Saxena
“Melatonin and Receptor Gene Variant: Linking Circadian System and Type 2 Diabetes”
Role: Principal Investigator

NIH/NIDDK R01 DK105072; Multi-PI: R. Saxena and F.A.J.L. Scheer
“Impact of Melatonin, Food Timing and Receptor Variant on Type 2 Diabetes”
Role: Principal Investigator

NIH/NIDDK R01 DK107859: PI: Saxena
“Genetics of Chronotype and Impact on Metabolic Disease”
Role: Principal Investigator

NIH/NHLBI R01 HL113338 Multi-PI: Redline, Lin    
“Leveraging Family Data to identify genetic variants for sleep apnea”
Role: Co-Investigator

NIH/NINDS R01 NS099055 PI: Videnovic
“Bright light modulation of non-motor symptoms in Parkinson’s disease”
Role: Co-Investigator

Selected Completed

NIH/NHLBI R21 HL121728; PI: R. Saxena
”Discovery of genes for sleep traits”

NIH/NIDDK R21 DK089378; Multi-PI: R. Saxena and F.A.J.L. Scheer
“Impact of MTNR1B and CRY2 variants on sleep circadian physiology and metabolism”

Harvard Catalyst Pilot Grant; Co-PIs: F.A.J.L. Scheer and R. Saxena "Mechanistic impact of the novel MTNR1B type 2 diabetes gene on changes in circadian, metabolic and sleep physiology"

Recent Awards

2017 MGH Research Scholar
2011-13,15,16 MGH Clinical Research Day Awards
2010 Claflin Distinguished Scholar Award

Selected Publications

Lopez-Minguez J, Saxena R, Bandín C, Scheer FA,* Garaulet M.* Late dinner impairs glucose tolerance in MTNR1B risk allele carriers: A randomized, cross-over study. Clinical Nutrition. In Press.

Cain SW, Chang AM, Vlasac I, Tare A, Anderson C, Czeisler CA, Saxena R. Circadian
Rhythms in Plasma Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor Differ in Men and Women.
Journal of biological rhythms. 2017; 32(1):75-82. [PMID: 28326910]

Lane JM, Liang J, Vlasac I, Anderson SG, Bechtold DA, Bowden J, Emsley R, Gill S,
Little MA, Luik AI, Loudon A, Scheer FA, Purcell SM, Kyle SD, Lawlor DA, Zhu X,
Redline S, Ray DW, Rutter MK*, Saxena R*. Genome-wide association analyses of sleep
disturbance traits identify new loci and highlight shared genetics with
neuropsychiatric and metabolic traits. Nature genetics. 2017; 49(2):274-281.
[PMID: 27992416]

Wang H, Cade BE, Chen H, Gleason KJ, Saxena R, Feng T, Larkin EK, Vasan RS, Lin
H, Patel SR, Tracy RP, Liu Y, Gottlieb DJ, Below JE, Hanis CL, Petty LE, Sunyaev
SR, Frazier-Wood AC, Rotter JI, Post W, Lin X, Redline S, Zhu X. Variants in
angiopoietin-2 (ANGPT2) contribute to variation in nocturnal oxyhaemoglobin
saturation level. Human molecular genetics. 2016; 25(23):5244-5253. [PMID: 27798093]

Cade BE, Chen H, Stilp AM, Gleason KJ, Sofer T, Ancoli-Israel S, Arens R, Bell
GI, Below JE, Bjonnes AC, Chun S, Conomos MP, Evans DS, Johnson WC, Frazier-Wood
AC, Lane JM, Larkin EK, Loredo JS, Post WS, Ramos AR, Rice K, Rotter JI, Shah NA,
Stone KL, Taylor KD, Thornton TA, Tranah GJ, Wang C, Zee PC, Hanis CL, Sunyaev
SR, Patel SR, Laurie CC, Zhu X, Saxena R, Lin X, Redline S. Genetic Associations
with Obstructive Sleep Apnea Traits in Hispanic/Latino Americans. American
journal of respiratory and critical care medicine. 2016; 194(7):886-897. [PMID: 26977737]

Lane JM*, Chang AM*, Bjonnes AC, Aeschbach D, Anderson C, Cade BE, Cain SW,
Czeisler CA, Gharib SA, Gooley JJ, Gottlieb DJ, Grant SF, Klerman EB, Lauderdale
DS, Lockley SW, Munch M, Patel S, Punjabi NM, Rajaratnam SM, Rueger M, St Hilaire
MA, Santhi N, Scheuermaier K, Van Reen E, Zee PC, Shea SA, Duffy JF, Buxton OM,
Redline S, Scheer FA, Saxena R. Impact of Common Diabetes Risk Variant in MTNR1B
on Sleep, Circadian, and Melatonin Physiology. Diabetes. 2016; 65(6):1741-51.
[PMID: 26868293]

Eichler FS, Li J, Guo Y, Caruso PA, Bjonnes AC, Pan J, Booker JK, Lane JM, Tare
A, Vlasac I, Hakonarson H, Gusella JF, Zhang J, Keating BJ, Saxena R. CSF1R
mosaicism in a family with hereditary diffuse leukoencephalopathy with spheroids.
Brain : a journal of neurology. 2016; 139(Pt 6):1666-72. [PMID: 27190017]

Liang J, Cade BE, Wang H, Chen H, Gleason KJ, Larkin EK, Saxena R, Lin X, Redline
S, Zhu X. Comparison of Heritability Estimation and Linkage Analysis for Multiple
Traits Using Principal Component Analyses. Genetic epidemiology. 2016;
40(3):222-32. [PMID: 27027516]

Lane JM, Vlasac I, Anderson SG, Kyle SD, Dixon WG, Bechtold DA, Gill S, Little
MA, Luik A, Loudon A, Emsley R, Scheer FA, Lawlor DA, Redline S, Ray DW, Rutter
MK*, Saxena R*. Genome-wide association analysis identifies novel loci for
chronotype in 100,420 individuals from the UK Biobank. Nature communications.
2016; 7:10889. [PMID: 26955885]

Chang AM, Bjonnes AC, Aeschbach D, Buxton OM, Gooley JJ, Anderson C, Van Reen E,
Cain SW, Czeisler CA, Duffy JF, Lockley SW, Shea SA, Scheer FA*, Saxena R*.
Circadian gene variants influence sleep and the sleep electroencephalogram in
humans. Chronobiology international. 2016; 33(5):561-73. [PMID: 27089043]

Cade BE, Gottlieb DJ, Lauderdale DS, Bennett DA, Buchman AS, Buxbaum SG, De Jager
PL, Evans DS, Fülöp T, Gharib SA, Johnson WC, Kim H, Larkin EK, Lee SK, Lim AS,
Punjabi NM, Shin C, Stone KL, Tranah GJ, Weng J, Yaffe K, Zee PC, Patel SR, Zhu
X, Redline S, Saxena R. Common variants in DRD2 are associated with sleep
duration: the CARe consortium. Human molecular genetics. 2016; 25(1):167-79.
[PMID: 26464489]

Garaulet M, Gómez-Abellán P, Rubio-Sastre P, Madrid JA, Saxena R, Scheer FA.
Common type 2 diabetes risk variant in MTNR1B worsens the deleterious effect of
melatonin on glucose tolerance in humans. Metabolism: clinical and experimental.
2015; 64(12):1650-7. [PMID: 26440713]

Tare A, Lane JM, Cade BE, Grant SF, Chen TH, Punjabi NM, Lauderdale DS, Zee PC,
Gharib SA, Gottlieb DJ, Scheer FA, Redline S, Saxena R. Sleep duration does not
mediate or modify association of common genetic variants with type 2 diabetes.
Diabetologia. 2014; 57(2):339-46. [PMID: 24280871]

Lane JM, Tare A, Cade BE, Chen TH, Punjabi NM, Gottlieb DJ, Scheer FA, Redline S,
Saxena R. Common variants in CLOCK are not associated with measures of sleep
duration in people of european ancestry from the sleep heart health study.
Biological psychiatry. 2013; 74(12):e33-5. [PMID: 23871470]

Saxena R, Saleheen D, Been LF, Garavito ML, Braun T,.., Sanghera DK.
Genome-wide association study identifies a novel locus contributing to type 2
diabetes susceptibility in Sikhs of Punjabi origin from India.
Diabetes. 2013; 62(5):1746-55. [PMID: 23300278]

Ng MC, Saxena R, Li J, Palmer ND, Dimitrov L, Xu J, Rasmussen-Torvik LJ, Zmuda
JM, Siscovick DS, Patel SR, Crook ED, Sims M, Chen YD, Bertoni AG, Li M, Grant
SF, Dupuis J, Meigs JB, Psaty BM, Pankow JS, Langefeld CD, Freedman BI, Rotter
JI, Wilson JG, Bowden DW. Transferability and fine mapping of type 2 diabetes
loci in African Americans: the Candidate Gene Association Resource Plus Study.
Diabetes. 2013; 62(3):965-76. [PMID: 23193183]

Saxena R*, Elbers CC*, Guo Y, Peter I, Gaunt TR, Mega JL, Lanktree MB, Tare A,
Castillo BA, Li YR, Johnson T.. Keating BJ. Large-scale gene-centric meta-analysis
across 39 studies identifies type 2 diabetes loci. American journal of human
genetics. 2012; 90(3):410-25. [PMID: 22325160]

Dupuis J*, Langenberg C*, Prokopenko I*, Saxena R*, Soranzo N*, Jackson AU, Wheeler E, Glazer NL, Bouatia-Naji N, Gloyn AL, .. McCarthy MI, Florez JC, Barroso I.
New genetic loci implicated in fasting glucose homeostasis and their impact
on type 2 diabetes risk. Nature genetics. 2010; 42(2):105-16.

Saxena R*, Hivert MF*, Langenberg C, Tanaka T, Pankow JS, Vollenweider P, Lyssenko
V, Bouatia-Naji N ..Wareham NJ, Watanabe RM. Genetic variation in GIPR influences
the glucose and insulin responses to an oral glucose challenge. Nature genetics.
2010; 42(2):142-8. NIHMSID: NIHMS226512 [PMID: 20081857]

Lyssenko V, Nagorny CL, Erdos MR, Wierup N, Jonsson A, Spégel P, Bugliani M,
Saxena R, Fex M, .. Mulder H, Groop L. Common variant in MTNR1B associated
with increased risk of type 2 diabetes and impaired early insulin secretion.
Nature genetics. 2009; 41(1):82-8. [PMID: 19060908]

Prokopenko I*, Langenberg C*, Florez JC*, Saxena R*, Soranzo N*, Thorleifsson G, Loos
RJ, Manning AK, Jackson AU.. Abecasis GR. Variants in MTNR1B influence
fasting glucose levels. Nature genetics. 2009; 41(1):77-81. [PMID: 19060907]

Zeggini E*, Scott LJ*, Saxena R*, Voight BF*, .. McCarthy MI,
Boehnke M, Altshuler D. Meta-analysis of genome-wide association data and
large-scale replication identifies additional susceptibility loci for type 2
diabetes. Nature genetics. 2008; 40(5):638-45. [PMID: 18372903]

Diabetes Genetics Initiative of Broad, Lund and Novartis. Saxena R, Voight BF,
Lyssenko V, Burtt NP, de Bakker PI, .. Purcell S. Genome-wide association analysis
identifiesloci for type 2 diabetes and triglyceride levels.
Science 2007; 316(5829):1331-6. [PMID: 17463246]

Saxena R, Gianniny L, Burtt NP, Lyssenko V, Giuducci C, Sjögren M, Florez JC,
Almgren P, Isomaa B, Orho-Melander M, Lindblad U, Daly MJ, Tuomi T, Hirschhorn
JN, Ardlie KG, Groop LC, Altshuler D. Common single nucleotide polymorphisms in
TCF7L2 are reproducibly associated with type 2 diabetes and reduce the insulin
response to glucose in nondiabetic individuals. Diabetes. 2006; 55(10):2890-5.
[PMID: 17003358]

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